Choosing the right digital advertising platform can be overwhelming. 

However, with Google AdWords, small businesses are offered flexibility and convenience for their online marketing campaigns. Businesses can choose a more streamlined version, or an automated version known as Express.  

Depending on your marketing goals, one may be a more favorable option.  


Selecting the right set of keywords is crucial for getting your ads seen by the right audience on Google. 

AdWords lets you choose your keywords, and they can be changed at any time as you review the reports of your ad performance. Keyword research will be useful for paid ads and as you develop SEO content as well. 

AdWords Express limits your options by choosing a broad set of based on your business category or services offered. The keywords can’t be changed, and you can’t remove irrelevant keywords that target a suboptimal audience. 

AdWords Reports

One of the most valuable aspects of AdWords is the detailed reporting of the performance of your ads. AdWords provides extensive data on how people find your website, their behavior on the site, which ads or links they used, and more.  

With this data, you can track the effectiveness of your keywords, and run tests using different types of ads to see which ones draw in the most traffic to your site. 

In contrast, the reporting on Express is very limited, and is only displayed on the dashboard and are not able to export the data. You won’t get much data to work with, and since you can’t adjust your keywords before or during the ad campaign, the data isn’t of much use. 


One of the main selling points of Express is that it is convenient for the small business owner who doesn’t have time to dedicate to creating an ad campaign.  

Setting up a regular AdWords account isn’t difficult but it does take some time to learn the set-up and optimize your campaigns. Ideally, you should spend 4 hours in the initial setup and 1 hour per week to monitor and manage it.  

Sometimes just getting started is the key. AdWords Express only takes 15 minutes per week and Google manages it for you. However, if you create a campaign on Express but decide later to switch to AdWords, you can’t transfer your account and existing data. Also, AdWords Express doesn’t have the features and flexibility of detailed reporting and keyword control. 

Ready for the Next Step? 

In the grand scheme of things, Express should be used as a short term, convenient strategy. If you’re looking to dive into Search Engine Marketing and pay-per-click ads, going the traditional AdWords route is best. 

If you need help with online advertising, Strategy is here to help!  

We’ll help conduct detailed keyword research to determine the most effective means of targeting your ideal audience.  

Contact us today and let’s get started!

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